Visit Cornwall’s Distilleries & Breweries

Published November 24th, 2020 Visit Cornwall’s Distilleries & Breweries Published in: Days Out

Looking for a different type of experience whilst you are here in Cornwall. Perhaps it’s a cold or wet day and you are looking to do something inside; how about a tour of a distillery or a brewery, they are a fascinating and fun away to spend a few hours.

Throughout the county there are plenty of drink producers to choose from, some have been producing for a long-time, others are newcomers on the scene. These distilleries will be popular with any beer, cider or gin lovers in your life. You may discover a great beer, cider or gin you had not previously come across and will get to sample some wonderful local craft beers and ciders, an added bonus. Whilst also discovering and learning about new up and coming local drink producers.

During your stay here in Cornwall why not make time to visit a few of our amazing independent breweries and distilleries. Discover their individual approaches, processes and ethos. Many have interesting stories as to how they got started in the distillery industry.

Visits are laid back, informative, interesting and above all fun, you don’t have to be an enthusiast to enjoy. You will find that each tour has a different feel, set-up and each establishment has something unique to offer.

Tarquin’s Cornish Gin, Wadebridge

This small independent family-run distillery had humble beginnings and is found in the heart of Cornwall, located on an old farm, that is nestled on a hilltop overlooking the rugged Cornish coast. An establishment that has grown since its inception in 2012 into a multi award winning artisan gin distillery as well as becoming a prestigious international brand. Every bottle of Tarquin gin continues to be made here at the Southwestern Distillery.

This immersive tour starts off on the right footing with a welcoming signature gin and tonic. The friendly, passionate and enthusiastic staff tell the intriguing and inspiring story on why Tarquin started on this road and the company ethos. Then you move along to an old sheep barn where the distillery is housed. Here your intimate behind the scenes tour begins where you will see and learn about the old-school techniques and distilling process involved in producing their splendid gins; about the many unique botanicals used and the role they play with giving their artisan gin their distinctive flavours; see the copper stills and glean lots of interesting facts along the way.

The tour concludes with a tasting flight involving their core gin range served in the recommended way, this takes place in the visitor area. There is a sample takeaway bottle for the designated driver.

You can upgrade our experience where you can wax dip your own bottle of Tarquin gin and take it home, a nice personlised memento of your visit.

Tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays, 11.00 am – 12.30 pm and 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm. Advance booking is required.

Well, worth a visit you are a gin lover, or you could leave converted! An awesome local brand.

Colwith Farm Distillery, near Lostwithiel

For the past five generations, they have farmed the land growing potatoes, before branching out into the production of premium spirits. A family run distillery that is Cornwall’s first and only 'plough to bottle' gin and vodka distillery. All ingredients used in their processes are produced here on their farm, so instead of buying in spirit they make their own. They have very little waste with everything being recycled or repurposed for use.

They are now offering visitors the opportunity to engage in a range of distillery experiences where you will see the process of the transformation of the basic potatoes they grow into their award-winning vodka and gins, at this very innovative distillery. Available tours include:

Guided Distillery Tour

Visitors are welcomed by a friendly guide with a delicious Cornish Dry G&T, then given a brief background introduction to how this distillery came about. Next you are taken step by step through the entire process of gin making in this unique gin distillery. It is incredible that the humble potato can be turned into premium spirits. You will be told how to prepare the mash, distil, and rectify gin. The tours are hands on, and you get the opportunity to taste, smell and touch their various products and botanicals. Learn what, makes Colwith unique and stand out from most other distilleries.

You will then take part in a Tutored tasting at the up-cycled bar. You will get to sample three vodkas and three gins. Best to have a designated driver or taxi booked.

Tour duration is about ninety minutes.

Gin School

A great experience for gin lovers, where you get a fantastic insight into the making of gin under expert tutelage. You are introduced to an incredible world of botanicals, flavour profiles and gin rectification. Next comes the fun part, you then get your own copper alembic pot still, albeit a miniature version, to distil your own gin masterpiece. The instructors are on hand to help in choosing flavours, etc. You will blend and fill your own 70cl bottle of unique Cornish gin that is unlike any other out there.

Whilst this filters through you can sit back and indulge in a seasonal Colwith Cocktail.

Leave feeling accomplished with your unique gin to enjoy at home with family or friends, or keep for yourself.

Gin Masterclass

This three-hour experience incorporates the full guided distillery tour but also includes a tutored tasting session, and you smelling their incredible range of botanicals to decide on what ones you will use to create your perfect gin.

You then get your own copper alembic pot still albeit a miniature version to distil your personal gin creation.

Whilst this filters through you will indulge in a seasonal Colwith Cocktail.

You will blend and fill your own 70cl bottle of unique Cornish gin that is unlike any other out there.

Cocktail Masterclass

Fancy yourself as a mixologist then this class could be just for you. A fun and inclusive class where under the expert guidance of a master mixologist you will be shown how to mix, shake and toss your way to the top of the class. Your session starts with a signature welcome drink, sure to get the class off on the right footing.

You will then get the opportunity to make and try three scrumptious cocktails that you can recreate later when at home to impress friends and family. There is a helpful cocktail prompt sheet to take home, as a gentle reminder.

Pre-booking is required for all the above experiences. They all make for a very enjoyable time.

The modern bar area is home to the upcycled tasting bar that overlooks the glorious countryside; it is lovely and roomy and is the perfect spot to hang out and sample some of the great Colwith products. The entire team here are great, so friendly and enthusiastic and will ensure you have a brilliant experience whilst here at Colwith.

Make sure to check out the shop before you go, where you can purchase the many great products they produce.

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Padstow Brewing Company, Padstow

This award-winning independent micro-brewery is located on Cornwall’s North coast. Established in 2013 by husband and wife team Caron and Des Archer, with first brews being produced in a converted surf shower. Thankfully things have moved on since then and they are now housed in a more substantial unit just outside Padstow, although the brewery is still considered small scale. The Padstow Brewig Company like to keep things local, working with students at Falmouth University on their design and packaging.

There in-depth interactive Brewery Tours take you through the entire brewing process from start to finish accompanied by lots of unique beers to sample as you go through the various stages. These tours operate most Fridays and are really popular so must be booked in advance.

They also offer a Brewday Experience where you get a real hands on experience, you will spend a day with a knowledgeable and passionate lead brewer and will be taught the essentials involved in creating one of their great beers. Topped off with a Cornish-pasty lunch and as much beer as you can drink! You will come away appreciating all the hard work that goes into creating a beer. A definite for any real beer lovers.

Whether you are interested in brewing or not, a brewery tour is a great day out for all. It could turn out to be the highlight of your stay.

They also have fantastic Tasting Room on Broad Street in the heart of Padstow where you will find their complete range of artisan beers and ciders. It is an ideal space to relax and enjoy their superb offerings. You can take part in a tasting flight choosing from their vast draught beer selection, all overseen by their knowledgeable staff; who are happy to offer suggestions if needed and provide lots of information on the beers. They will happily answer any questions you might have. There are nibbles available to compliment your selection.

You can purchase beer, cider and hand-selected gifts before you leave.

Skinner’s Brewery, Truro

This successful family-run brewery is located close to Truro city centre, on the banks of the Truro River here in Cornwall. This independent brewery started in 1997 and was the dream of Steve Skinner who set about to create a community brewery here in Cornwall. This award winning local brewery still remains a family run establishment and uses locally grown produce where possible; the barley is grown less than five miles away. They are the brewery behind Cornwall’s most popular ales.

Despite their size they brew an extraordinary amount of Cornish beers, lagers and ciders. They have impressive range of quality beers and ciders, with their names all coming from characters from Cornish folklore.

They offer the opportunity to take part in a tasting tour, you will go behind the scenes to see the brewery in action and see exactly where the magic happens. With your experienced and knowledgeable guide, you will be brought through the various stages and processes in brewing, they will also share entertaining stories and give an intriguing insight into their ales. Additionally you get the opportunity to meet and chat with the workers in the various departments. Then follows the highlight of the tour; the opportunity to sample their award-winning ales under the tutelage of the experienced bar staff, beware their samples are generous. Take time to relax in their atmospheric visitor centre.

These informal and fun tours operate, Daytime Monday to Friday 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm; in July and August there is an additional 12.00 pm tour. The Evening Tours are Thursday and Saturday 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm. Owing to their popularity tours must be booked in advance.

There are complimentary soft drinks and coffees available for designated drivers.

The tours do involve several flights of stairs so may not be suitable for those with mobility issues.

A fantastic family business with a great story and great ales too, one not to miss when here in Cornwall.

St Austell Brewery, St Austell

Founded in 1851 this independent family run brewery is well established and its beers are well recognised not just here in the south west but throughout the country. They still are found in their original premises overlooking St Austell. The basic brew house is still the working heart of the brewery today. You will be amazed at their scale of production.

During a visit guests can immerse themselves in the brewing process that has not altered much over the past 140 years and learn the fascinating story of this local brewery, its history and heritage.

Start with a stroll from the past through to present whilst reading the timeline of the brewery and take a look into Walters Office and see the family members who have been involved in the history of the company through to present day. In the Brewing Experience you will see their wall of fame, you can hold and smell some of the hops, malt and barley they use, learn where they are used and their role in the brewing process. Find out about the secret spring that supplies their water. Hear about their Globally Inspired Small Batch Brews, and their processes and future developments at The Small Batch Brewery.

The Brewing Experience Tour

This tour commences with a welcoming drink in their Small Hatch Bar where visitors are greeted by their personal tour guide, who will talk you through the brewing process step by step. It is a hands on experience where you can handle and smell the hops, malts and barley used whilst learning why and how they are used in the brewing process. You are then taken on a trip down memory lane and shown how things used to be done in the early days; see the recreated Coopers Workshop complete with old equipment, machinery and tools harking back to the days of steam brewing. You will then be brought back to present day and will get to see the casking and the production process of the beers. Finally you will make your way back to the Small Hatch Bar for a Beer Sampling Session where you will have the opportunity to taste up to eight of their premium brews.

Tours last about 90 minutes, and take place Monday to Saturday, at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm.

The Brewhouse Tour

This is a more in-depth tour, but you get the same personal and interactive experience. During this tour visitors are given a real insight into the entire brewing process and how the beers get from grain to glass. This experience also commences with a welcoming drink at the Small Hatch Bar, which is followed by a brief history of the brewery. Then you make your way right to the top of the Victorian brewhouse where you are taken through the brewing process and the journey of their beer. Next is a trip down memory lane at Cooper’s Workshop before making your way back to the Small Hatch Bar where the real fun is, the Beer Sampling Session, where you will have the chance to taste up to eight premium brews.

Tours are about 120 minutes and take place Monday to Saturday at 12.00 pm. You do require a certain level of fitness on this tour owing to the steps that take you up to the brewing tower.

The tours are relaxed and informative, and the guides are knowledgeable, engaging and very friendly. All tours must be booked in advance.

Hicks Bar is open throughout the day Monday to Saturday where you can enjoy a tasty beer and some delicious homecooked pub meals, or a cake and coffee; they cater to all appetites. The knowledgeable staff are at hand should you have any questions or require any help in choosing a beer.

The St Austell Brewery shop carries the full range of bottled and canned beers as well as extensive range of wines, branded gifts and clothing.

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Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm, Truro

Take time to visit Cornwall’s oldest cyder farm, located in the heart of the Cornish countryside. For the past 30 years, this small independent family-run business has been growing and harvesting their orchards to create their special cyders, wines, spirits, and preserves all on-site. Take a visit to a real working cider farm and learn all about the art of cyder making and lots more. Throughout the year they also host a number of seasonal events.

A day here makes for a memorable visit for children; they can enjoy a tractor ride around the beautiful orchards, meet the friendly furry farm animals, watch jam being made, and much more. As you walk around the grounds, you will discover the history of cider making.

Self-guided tours are available, and they are very interesting and cover the entire production process. Starting with the owner explaining the objects in each room. You can then move into the new production viewing area, here you can see cider being made from the aerial walkway. Make sure to visit the museum and take the opportunity to sample drinks in the farm shop.

They additionally offer a range of unique experiences to visitors with their Healeys Experiences. You can choose from:

The Full Healey's Experience

This is an in-depth and personal experience where you will discover the entire Healey's story, as well as learning about cider making and tasting. Hope aboard the vintage tractor for an audio accompanied tour through the 20-acre Cornish orchards.

Under the guidance of your cider master you will ascend the famous Heaelys giant cider vat, where you will learn about modern cider making processes. From the viewing platform you will get in-depth information about blends, the purpose of the cider vats and see for yourself the cider process as it moves along through to the bottling and kegging lines.

Next you will be taken to the press house to see the vast cider vats and then through to the Rattler Bar. Here you will learn about the acidity, sweetness and tannins in ciders. You will then get to taste three of their most popular cider blends and learn the techniques of their creation.

If you have children, they will be given the opportunity to make their own juice blends. They can design their own bottle label and can adhere this to their unique juice blend to take home with them.

Cyder Sensory Experience

Take the journey from the 'pip to pour' in this enlightening cider experience. This is an intimate and in-depth cider tasting experience that commences with a vintage tractor ride through their orchards accompanied by an audio tour.

A cider master guide will then take you through the farm to the press house where you will see the impressive cider vats. You will then move along to Rattlers Bar and engage in the fun part, cider tasting. You will learn about acidity, sweetness and tannins found in ciders. Next you will get to taste three of their most popular cider blends when you will learn the techniques of their creation.

Afterwards make your way to the sample bar and use your knowledge to choose from their entire Healeys cider range.

Gin Tasting Experience

A new addition to their experience range, allowing visitors to delve into the heart of Cornwall’s oldest distillery and learn the intriguing expertise behind Cornish Gin, Brandy and Whiskey production. Their uniquely famous cyder is the base in their creations, distillery and blend of these spirits.

During the tour visitors will learn how they get from 'pip to pour', starting at the apple press and concluding in the cellars. Down here you will find their secret cellar bar where you will get the opportunity to taste all 5 Premium Rattler Gins. Will you be able to determine what botanical’s have been used using your sense of smell and taste? Your guide will explain the way the different combinations work and how to appreciate them.

You will also get the chance to sample their Rattler Brandy and indulge in a cocktail of your choice, choosing your favourite spirit as the main ingredient.

Vintage Tractor Tour

On this fun experience visitors are taken on a tractor ride through the valley and leafy orchards that are on the farm, accompanied by an audio tour that narrates the story of the farm.

Following the informative ride you make your way back to take a self-guided tour of the Cider Museum, Production facility, Apple Press House, Distillery and Cellars. You can indulge in free tastings of cyder, wine, juices, jams and chutneys. Take time to meet the friendly farm animals.

Advanced booking is required for all experiences, and they all require an annual pass entry to the farm. With an Annual Pass you can enjoy unlimited free return visits and access to farm events throughout the twelve-month period, as well as exclusive farm discounts and much more. These passes can be bought along with their individual experiences online.

The welcoming and friendly Old Bottlery Restaurant is housed in a delightful barn, where they serve delicious homecooked meals as well as delicious Cornish Cream Teas. You can also visit the Mowhay Tea Room for tasty refreshments.

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We hope you are now inspired to visit one of these great establishments, you will get a lot from a visit and will leave with an appreciation of the hard work that goes into creating your favourite tipple.